This next block brings me to the account of Jesus raising a young man from death to life. He performed this amazing miracle right out on the street, while his coffin was being carried enroute to his grave. Talk about your close calls.
If you add them up, Jesus brought dead people back to life three times that we know of, not counting His own resurrection and all the people that rose the moment He died on the cross. Talk about your miracles.
If I was to be asked, “Why is Christianity the only way to salvation? Isn’t that narrow minded? How can you be so exclusionary in this day and age?”
I’d answer with, “Show me another religion that provides a god who came down from his throne to rescue us all. Not to reveal a path, a ladder, a labyrinth to Heaven, but to die. To lose His own life in order to save us from ourselves. God became man and gave His own life in order that we might live. But that’s not all. He raised Himself from His own death, which was the death of all the sins of all the world. Show me a Savior that did all that in your faith tradition, and I’ll consider it as an option.”
It took me a few minutes, but I think I figured out why Laurie Aaron Hird chose this next block, “Hand”, to accompany the Bible passage.
The passage relates how the voice from Heaven, along with the Spirit descending like a dove, completed the Trinity’s attendance at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. So, hand?
The passage continues with how Jesus went on to forty days of temptation, and John the Baptist went on to be imprisoned. After which, Jesus began His public ministry with these words in verse 15: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel”.
There it is, the “hand” reference. In this case, “at hand” means “near”, or more accurately, “here” as in, “You’re looking at Him right now”.
The “time” that is “fulfilled”? That’s all the words of the prophets that have foretold the work and person of Jesus Christ, Who is the first, the last, and everything in between.
What does that mean for us? It means the time is now. It’s time to just do it. Do what? Do what Jesus said, “Repent and believe in the gospel”. He did an amazing thing, the most amazing feat of all, overcoming sin, death, and the power of the devil. Why? So that nothing could stand between us and God ever again. That’s the gospel. What are we waiting for?
Now where was I? I’m excited to be back to the Bible Sampler quilt blocks, but I’m so confused. This is supposed to be the 65th block in the quilt, but I already had a number 65 post. Oh well. This is what happens when I’m put in charge. When I started this blog, staying in chronological order was supremely important to me. I wonder why that was? I think I was too concerned about how I would appear to my readers. I planned to number the posts that included the blocks for organization’s sake. Now that’s gone out the window, and frankly, I’m okay with it. My readers turned out to be kind and supportive. I’m even quite certain that you don’t even care. I might add here that Laurie Aaron Hird herself is skipping around amongst the gospels as she unfolds the life of Christ. So I’m in very good company here.
I think I remember now that I zipped through those last few short books of the Old Testament in order to be in Luke 2 for Christmas. Ah yes, that was it. In January, I enjoyed the holiday scripture passages and the block that went with them. Then, good student that I am, I made myself go back and reread those Old Testament minor prophets in order to give this Bible readthrough justice. I’m glad I did, and I finished piecing the border triangles along the way.
2020 has been a very long year, wouldn’t you agree? Here’s block number 65, for reals.
Now for the OMG challenge over on Elm Street Quilts:
For October, I’m going to extend a little grace to myself by setting a very small goal. This month, my days will be spent in the garden harvesting, and leaning over the kitchen sink processing, summer fruits and vegetables. This week it’s been squash and tomatoes. Next week it’ll be pomegranates and guavas, and so on. I juice, freeze, can, and dehydrate as much as I am able. It’s time consuming and rewarding. I don’t normally take food photos, but last night our homegrown, homemade tomato soup was so yummy, I had to snap a photo. (I’m really taking liberties now with skipping all over the place, aren’t I?)
Bringing it back, here’s my plan: I’ll finish what I quilted for last month’s OMG. I need to pull threads, make binding, and handstitch the binding down. I foresee this happening while relaxing in front of the TV after those long hours of kitchen work. Doesn’t that sound nice? Happy October!
Once upon a time, there was a third grade teacher with a great class. One student really shone, not only because he was intelligent; he was exceptionally kind, generous, and humble about it as well. And for an added bonus, his mom stepped up to be an incredible room mother. That family had a beautiful golden retriever named Lucy. This teacher knew she was beautiful because her student had brought Lucy to show the class for his Star of the Week sharing. Now this was a risky thing to do, because a pet sharing event had gone badly in a different classroom, and this teacher wasn’t sure if dogs were still allowed on campus. So after several conversations about it, she arranged to have this sharing on the playground right at the dismissal bell, when children could choose to either leave or stay for the presentation. The teacher quickly relaxed after seeing how gentle and calm Lucy was with all of the children. We loved Lucy.
Soon afterwards, Lucy accidentally found herself with child(ren) from a neighborhood purebred professional stud who had broken down the garage door opener in order to make her that way. Because the stud’s owner did not want to pay for repairs to the garage door, he denied paternity. So the amazing room mom was free to find homes for the eight puppies that arrived six weeks later. She asked me if I wanted a purebred golden retriever puppy without papers. I had always been a mutt/pound rescue kind of dog owner, so this threw me off. But when she persisted, and I went to visit her brood, how could I not? I had over an acre of fenced yard, an elderly dog who could take a puppy under wing, and two boys still at home to help civilize a new little wild thing.
I chose Emma.
But she was already gentle, calm, and dare I even say, sedate, from day one. She needed no training, because she always lived to love us, and to be loved by us. That was all.
Now as I write, with tears streaming, I can find contentment in knowing that we had the best: being loved by, and loving our Emma these twelve years we’ve had together, which ended yesterday. I miss her so.
I have finished reading the Old Testament with the final book of Malachi, and have some of my own words to share about God’s final words.
Before I embark on the New Testament, which gets me back to making the quilt blocks in the Bible Sampler quilt, here’s some more border pieces I’ve completed:
First of all, “Malachi” isn’t a name, it’s a word that means “My messenger”. So, an anonymous messenger delivered the last downloads from God to His chosen people: He is serious about the covenant He made. He doesn’t blur lines regarding the purity of His law. He says what He means and He means what He says. There is no such thing as “gray areas” when it comes to being part of a covenant with the Lord Almighty.
This message was timely, because the Jewish nation was getting lazy. The temple was up and running, but the priests were cutting corners and showing partiality when the Law didn’t conveniently fit their narrative. They were picking and choosing what parts they wanted to observe. The messenger warned them that the Lord Almighty will be coming, and He will be judging, and it’s not gonna be pretty.
But the message didn’t end there. There’s a shiny nugget in chapter three. “Behold, I am going to send you my messenger, who will prepare the way before Me.”
(Did this happen inside anybody else’s head? Does anyone else know the whole soundtrack by heart?)
Could this future messenger be John the Baptist? New Testament John, cousin of Jesus, who ushers in a new covenant between God and man? Chapter three goes on to say that through repentance and reformation, His people will be spared from His holy judgment. So, yes, Bingo!
So, 400 years Before Christ, even though the message is of inevitable condemnation because of the Law, God is offering hope and salvation that will come with a future messenger. Isn’t that just like Him to throw out a life line in the midst of desperate times? And because we live in 2020 A.D., having the gift of hindsight, we know how that story ends. Once again, God has strung his pearls of prophecy in perfect order, with all the puzzle pieces fitting neatly into their places.
But this message is still timely for us today. We can also prepare the way of the Lord. We have the golden opportunity to be His messengers of the good news. It’s our time to shine His light in the darkness that is certainly revealing itself in this epic year 2020.
Today is National Voter Registration Day. Are you registered to vote? This upcoming election is a golden opportunity to cast a vote, your voice, for issues of life, liberty, and justice.
So I mentioned in my last post that, unlike my pre-2020 self, I’ve been indulging in the watching of social media. This is because it has become peculiarly entertaining, and if I hadn’t seen some of these events with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe them myself as I retell them to my future grandchildren when they ask, “Gramma, what was it like to live through that weird year, was it 2020?”
So I check out what the government is saying, and what the protesters are screaming, and what the religious are preaching.
The self-proclaimed “prophets” appear to be doing a lot of dreaming these days, to which they ascribe “vision” status. These dreams seem to follow a common theme, which include the election, the president, and sometimes cataclysmic weather events and Israel are thrown in as well.
This got me to thinking about the dream I had last night. You may already know that teachers have dreams that run along common themes as well. We know this because we have regaled each other with them in the teacher’s lounge during recess. Maybe there’s been a study done about this phenomenon, which I’m sure is a universal one.
My dream went like this: It was my first day back in the classroom, with a brand new batch of students, and wouldn’t you know it, the Superintendent and other district office personnel are touring the school in support, and to check on student engagement. My eyes dart around my room, only to discover that I’ve still got that huge pile of old curriculum that I burped up out of a cupboard sitting out in plain view. No time now to stow it away, because the mucky mucks are already strolling around my room, stopping now and then to chat with a student, which disengages him from his task at hand. The student is confused by this stranger asking him questions, so his answers are less than stellar, which of course is a reflection on my professional abilities to engage my students in robust learning experiences. I’m relieved they haven’t noticed the pile of junk, or perhaps they are politely ignoring it. I begin to hope that I’ve pulled it off, if only they would proceed to the next classroom. But no, they linger, they’ve found a chatty student who will explain the activity to them in great detail, and I continue to hold my breath …..
I know, that wasn’t half as exciting as you thought it might be, but at least you know I didn’t make this up. And the interesting thing is that the characters, setting, plot, and events play out in other teachers’ dreams with surprising similarities. I know my retired friends still get them, too. I wonder if this will continue for the rest of our lives?
In all seriousness, and speaking of a dream, I wish our nation would take Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech at its word. If we would do the part where people are judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin, then maybe we could make our way forward. It could work if we, the people, would honestly examine the content of our character. How about we start with the Golden Rule and ask ourselves: “Am I treating others the way I want to be treated?”
Can it be possible that everything we needed to know to get along we really did learn in Kindergarten?
As I was unpacking the groceries, I kept seeing things like this:
Funny, it is hard to imagine life beyond 2020. Am I alone here?
Maybe it’s because I’ve watched what the media is pushing out. It’s been quite entertaining. Before 2020, I was too busy to pay attention. I’d ask my husband to fill me in on the pertinent news, and that was enough for me. This year, both religious and political newstreams proclaim that we are in the most profoundly important and epic of times, bar none. End times prophesies are everywhere, with even bigger pronouncements than those that came from the eighties. Whether due to the wrong president getting elected, or the second coming of Jesus Christ, it’s the end of the world they say. It makes us feel that we are closing in on the cultural breaking point. Even local news agencies are reporting record breaking this and thats about earthquakes, storms, and fires. Yesterday we broke the heat wave record here. And we have no air conditioning, which only adds to this otherworldly feeling.
But if I could imagine looking back at this year from a safe distance of a couple of years, what would I remember? What will you remember?
I hope I remember that reading through the Bible was an incredible source of balance, comfort, and joy. It was my rock in the world of shifting sand.
I hope I remember that I gardened more seriously, and I Swedish death cleaned, and I finally processed pesky paperwork tasks. I cooked from scratch, and basically gained control over the little things that add up to big savings.
Most of all, I hope I use this year to push the busy-ness reset button. If anything, 2020 gave me the gift of not being busy. Moving forward, I have the unique opportunity to change up my social obligations. The choices I make to give of myself to others can be re-prioritized to match my personal investment goals. Some people are good at doing this, and don’t need a statewide lockdown that never ends (California), but I did.
I remember being surprised when I spent one college year abroad decades ago. The post offices and banks were always closing down for various holidays. I supposed with more history under their belts, they had more events and kings and queens to observe than we did. And I was fascinated when I saw the flow of business stop every workday at precisely eleven a.m. It was Elevensies, of course! Everyone worked through their 10:00 coffee break back home, but in England, the savoring of a leisurely cup of tea (with milk) with a biscuit or two was observed with national zeal. Maybe productivity didn’t match up with the States, but I think they were on to something there.
Here in the U.S.A., we’ve been given the business reset button. I’m glad our stores have cut their hours and days of operation. I’m glad that people get to work remotely from their homes. This translates into more free time to spend with family, and cook from scratch, and get control of all the pesky little details that eat up the hours. It’s time much better spent than sitting in traffic. (I used to lose 1.5 hours every day on my commute. The day became so much longer when I retired!)
I hope this change is something that I will still see happening on August 19, 2022.
Today is Labor Day. If you’re American, I hope you are enjoying your one day off. I hope you take time to play.
I’m going to play with these happy little blocks today.
Hello, Blog. I say this greeting with affection, and a surprising realization that I view my blog as …. well, how do I view this exactly? I don’t personally know you, excepting maybe one or two. So I’ve created in my head a blogcircle of friends, true blue friends who lend sympathetic ears and encouragement to my heart. Thank you for being there. Here. Actually I don’t know quite where. I do know that we all have our struggles, and I hope I can lend you encouragement too.
I want so badly to return to the Bible Sampler quilt blocks. I’m finishing up reading the book of Zechariah, and I’m finding it to be so comforting. Funny that, because it describes all sorts of trials and tribulations (in other words, our present-day reality), but those struggles will make way for the Day of the Lord. In THAT day, our reality will turn right side up. Good will be good, and evil will be evil, and crimes will be punished, and the followers of Christ will rejoice and be glad.
But first, I’m going to write a blogpost in order to announce my OMG choice for the month of September. Tomorrow is the deadline.
I wasn’t going to join in this month, because my dog will be my priority and my focus in these last days we get to have with her. But I’ve faithfully finished up projects every single month since January. If I persevere, I’ll have twelve things done in this epic year otherwise known as 2020. I want to see this through.
This monthly UFO challenge has really been working out for me. I joined in January, Now halfway through this epic year that is 2020, I’ve completed six UFOs. Six! I think the “holding myself accountable to a public group” is the piece that motivates me. And that there is a chance to win great prizes helps too.
I still have quite a few UFOs to pick from. They don’t excite me when I think about working on them. Using this challenge to keep me focused, I’m going to finish quilting up the last of the three snowflake quilts by the end of July. Then they’ll get stowed away until Christmas, when hopefully they’ll feel fresh and festive again.
I’ve already begun. Can anyone please explain why mess-ups ALWAYS happen in the darker sections where it shows up more?